It’s rare that I have the same guest on Cam & Co twice in one week, but then again, it’s also not a common occurrence to have the personal details of hundreds of thousands of legal gun owners leaked by a state Attorney General’s office.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened in California this week after a “firearms data portal” unveiled by Attorney General Rob Bonta gave users the opportunity to download the private and confidential information of all those who possess a Concealed Handgun Permit in the state. California Rifle & Pistol Association president Chuck Michel is back on today’s show to give gun owners an update on the organization’s response to the unconscionable data leak, which has only been addressed by Bonta with a vague statement of concern stating “[a]ny unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable” and they are “working swiftly to address this situation.”
On Facebook, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said that Bonta’s office “plans to contact CCW holders directly to advise them of the breach and will institute a program to reduce any harm or damages to CCW holders that resulted from the breach,” but Michel wonders what exactly the AG can do to “reduce harm” now that the personal details, including addresses, of concealed carry holders have been downloaded and disseminated online.
“The problem is what are they going to do,” Michel asked. “There are potential legislative remedies, there are notifications and things that the Attorney General can try to do, but none of it is going to unring this bell. So what are they going to do; put up security for celebrities and judges and prosecutors so they can [feel safe]? And even if you go to court, the problem is that courts can’t go out and get this stuff off the internet.”
“So we’re looking into, because they need to be taught a lesson, potential causes of action against the Attorney General for this violation of the right to privacy. The problem is that there are some immunity issues; the statute in question applies more to sheriffs than to the Attorney General’s office itself. I’ve got three lawyers sitting in the office up half the night working up the analysis of what potential legal violations took place, what kind of lawsuit could be filed. Is it a class action, could there be sub-classes like judges or prosectors or individuals?”
There absolutely should be consequences for the actions of Bonta’s office, but Michel is correct when he says the damage is already done. What is Bonta going to do to “reduce harm”, for instance, to a woman who obtained a concealed carry license because her ex is stalking her and has threatened her with physical violence now that the ex in question may very well now be able to figure out where she lives? Is the state going to pay for her moving expenses?
In a perfect world (or at least one in which anti-gun politicians don’t enjoy a supermajority in the state legislature) California lawmakers would respond to this unconscionable leak of private information by removing the authority of the AG to collect and maintain all of this data. Stuff like this is one reason why gun owners are so rightfully concerned about the government establishing registries of gun owners; these agencies simply can’t be trusted to keep this information safe and secure, especially when the folks in charge are so hostile to those of us exercising our right to keep and bear arms. Michel says the Republican caucus in Sacramento is expected to make that very point in response to the unauthorized and unacceptable release of gun owners’ supposedly confidential information, but while they can complain, they’re also not in any position to make the substantive changes needed to protect the rights of gun owners and concealed carry holders in California. For that to happen Democrats will have to take the lead, and they’re far too busy coming up with new and inventive ways to infringe on our Second Amendment rights to concern themselves with gun owners being put at risk thanks to the actions of the Attorney General’s office.